Central role of TRAF-interacting protein in a new model of brain sexual differentiation.

TitleCentral role of TRAF-interacting protein in a new model of brain sexual differentiation.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsKrishnan S, Intlekofer KA, Aggison LK, Petersen SL
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Date Published2009 Sep 29
AbstractSexually dimorphic brain nuclei underlie gender-specific neural functions and susceptibility to disease, but the developmental basis of dimorphisms is poorly understood. In these studies, we focused on the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV), a nucleus that is larger in females and critical for the female-typical cyclic surge pattern of luteinizing hormone (LH) release. Sex differences in the size and function of the AVPV result from apoptosis that occurs preferentially in the developing male. To identify upstream pathways responsible for sexual differentiation of the AVPV, we used targeted apoptosis microarrays and in vivo and in vitro follow-up studies. We found that the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFalpha)-TNF receptor 2 (TNFR2)-NFkappaB cell survival pathway is active in postnatal day 2 (PND2) female AVPV and repressed in male counterparts. Genes encoding key members of this pathway were expressed exclusively in GABAergic neurons. One gene in particular, TNF receptor-associated factor 2 (TRAF2)-inhibiting protein (trip), was higher in males and it inhibited both TNFalpha-dependent NFkappaB activation and bcl-2 gene expression. The male AVPV also had higher levels of bax and bad mRNA, but neither of these genes was regulated by either TNFalpha or TRIP. Finally, the trip gene was not expressed in the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA), a nucleus in which apoptosis is higher in females than males. These findings form the basis of a new model of sexual differentiation of the AVPV that may also apply to the development of other sexually dimorphic nuclei.
Alternate JournalProc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.